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Automotive Aluminum Extrusions Challenges and Opportunities

automotive aluminum extrusions challenges and opportunities

With aluminum extrusion technology, automotive manufacturers can create safer, stronger and more efficient vehicles. As a result, the industry is on the upswing, with growing opportunities for key and new players. Learn about the aluminum extrusion market — why extrusions are important, what applications they have and how the industry will move forward.

Automotive Aluminum Extrusion Analysis: Benefits 

The automotive aluminum extrusion industry is on the rise. An aluminum extrusion can take on many applications in vehicle manufacturing. Due to the nature of aluminum, its extrusions offer several advantages, including the following:

1. Safety Capabilities 

The extrusion creation process allows manufacturers to use different aluminum alloys and create complex, diverse shapes. Vehicle companies have been able to test these configurations for energy absorption and fracture behavior. During a crash, aluminum extrusions deform in a controlled and predictable way. As they crumple neatly, they keep the vehicle's occupants as protected as possible. Aluminum extrusions have resulted in safer vehicles with powerful energy absorption capabilities. 

2. Reduced Vehicle Weight 

Aluminum is already a lightweight metal, and extrusions' hollow or semi-hollow shapes further reduce mass while retaining strength. The result is a significantly lighter yet sturdy vehicle. Decreased weight can improve fuel efficiency and vehicle performance — it takes less energy to accelerate a lighter vehicle.

3. Improved Fuel Economy 

Reduced vehicle weight contributes to better fuel economy, helping manufacturers reach emission reduction targets. In that way, automotive aluminum extrusions are helping build a more sustainable future. As environmental protection regulations increase, so will reliance on parts made from aluminum extrusions. 

4. Expanded Range of Electric Vehicles 

Aluminum extrusions have played an important role at Tesla and other electric vehicle manufacturers. The Tesla Model S contains many extruded aluminum components, including its front crash rails and its dashboard supports. Tesla highlights the vehicle's unmatched acceleration abilities, calling it the "highest performing sedan ever built." It needs only 1.99 seconds to jump from 0 to 60 miles per hour with its 1,020 horsepower peak. 

Some of Tesla's vehicle parts contain proprietary aluminum alloys, giving the company a competitive advantage in the market. The use of aluminum extrusions results in significant weight reductions and marked performance improvements.

Automotive Aluminum Extrusion Trends

Vehicle manufacturers use automotive extrusions throughout various parts of their vehicle bodies. 

Popular placements for automotive extrusions

Popular placements include: 

1. Engine block: One place where you're likely to find aluminum extrusions is a vehicle's engine block. Aluminum has been a popular material for engine blocks for many years, as it's much lighter than alternative metals. It also conducts heat well. It pulls heat from the combustion chamber during acceleration, resulting in a safer and more efficient vehicle. 

2. Roof headers:  Roof headers are important safety components — they protect passengers during rollovers. They must be both strong and lightweight, which makes aluminum extrusions an ideal choice. 

3. Cross-car beams: The cross-car beam is the backbone of the instrument panel. It needs to have structural integrity and vibration control, which extrusions can offer. 

4. Subframe: The subframe protects the vehicle's engine and battery. Underneath the vehicle, aluminum is the obvious choice, thanks to its natural corrosion resistance. It can withstand exposure to road salts and environmental conditions, keeping the vehicle's most essential elements protected. 

5. Cross-members: You'll often find aluminum extruded cross-members placed throughout vehicle ladder frames. They help create a smoother ride during twists and bumps. 

6. Battery box: In electric vehicles, enclosures protect the batteries. The enclosures need to have good thermal conductivity to regulate the battery's temperature. But they must also be strong enough to protect it from damage. Since aluminum has these properties, aluminum extrusions are a popular material choice for the encolures. 

Automotive Aluminum Extrusion Market 

The global aluminum extrusion market is growing, with increasing applications each year. The demand for lightweight, durable and corrosion-resistant automotive parts should continue to rise. Here are some insights into the aluminum extrusion market, including challenges, opportunities and major players.


Aluminum extrusion manufacturers must face certain challenges, such as: 

- Poor drawings: Some automotive companies may supply manufacturers with incomplete or inadequate drawings. Manufacturers need precise dimensions to create accurate parts for their clients. 

- Deviation tolerance: Manufacturers should also be sure to stay within industry tolerance standards set by the Aluminum Extruders Council


Some opportunities in the aluminum extrusion market include the following: 

- Customization: In the aluminum extrusion market, demand is growing for customization. Companies creating fully customizable and proprietary extruded parts will be important in the industry's future. 

- Design services: To address the issue of incomplete drawings from automotive clients, some manufacturers may supply design services along with production. 

Major Players

Here are some of the major players in the aluminum extrusions industry: 

- Novelis, Inc. 

- Kaiser Aluminum

- Norsk Hydro ASA

- Constellium NV

- Kobelco Aluminum Products and Extrusions, Inc. 

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Aluminum extrusions are paving a new future for vehicle manufacturing, creating safer, more efficient, and environmentally friendly vehicles. Extrusion applications are sure to increase as the industry grows. The strongest opportunities are in customization and design services. 

If you're interested in automotive aluminum extrusion consulting, access to market insights and trends data, subscribe to our market intelligence reports. You'll find valuable information about this industry in our Aluminum Intelligence, Aluminum Premiums and Aluminum/Bauxite Intelligence reports. Here at HARBOR Aluminum, we are the experts in aluminum pricing and forecasting. We help companies face challenges and identify opportunities for growth. Our detailed and accurate information will help you make informed decisions. Subscribe to our reports today for more insights.